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By Debbie le Quesne

‘Five to 8pc fee rises for three consecutive financial years’

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 When large corporates like Bupa start waving a banner of protest over fees there is something very wrong.

I promised yesterday to glean some more golden nuggets of leverage from their document – Bridging the Gap (Ensuring local authority fee levels reflect the real cost of caring for older people) and here they are.

Bupa lays its cards on the table in a no-nonsense approach stating the “in each of the last three annual rounds of fee setting, local authorities have failed to raise fees by a sufficient amount to cover care homes’ increased costs.”

The analysis adds that “in the financial year 2010/11, baseline fee rates paid by local authorities increased on average by 0.7%, compared with estimated care home cost increases of 2.1%.

“In the financial year 2011/12, the funding gap widened with average local authority increases of just 0.3% compared with estimated care home cost increases of 2.8%.”

And then we get the latest figures . . .”In the 2012/13 round, baseline fee rate increases were slightly higher as local authorities responded to the threat of judicial reviews by providers, but the average increase of 1.4% in England (1.6% across the UK) was still less than estimated cost increases of 2.5% in the year.”

In a nutshell the economics of this fiscal restraint are even more damning.

The effect of the previous under-spending means there has been a real terms reduction in local authority fees of 5.1% in England over the three years 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 (compared to 4.8% across the UK) and

the downward trend is predicted to continue.

Give me a brandy now!

Quite how we get a speedy reversal on this forecast I don’t know, but I do realize there is merit in forcing judicial reviews, though often it’s unleashing a toothless tiger.

Any extra money that could be paid is sadly only filling the holes left by previous years of financial famine. Bupa quite rightly points out there are many calls on local authority monies and that it is a national issue. Their response is to bring pressure directly on central government to require English local authorities to raise their fees by between 5% and 8% for each of the financial years 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16. Happy hunting!

 

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Written by debbielq

November 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

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